After the fall of the Empire, Luke seeked to rebuild the Jedi order, but after a series of events went missing. Meanwhile, the remnants of the empire rose once again as the First Order, seeking to crush the New Republic. On a mission on Jakku to obtain a map to Luke Skywalkers supposed location, Poe Dameron is captured by Kylo Ren, a sith apprentice at the front lines of the First Order. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes however with said map. Aboard the Stormtroopers ship, a stormstrooper finds himself unable to continue acting as a stormtrooper and helps Poe escape, escaping along side him, and on the way being given the name Finn. However, after they crash, with Finn being unsure of whether Poe survived or not, he begins his quest to complete Poe’s mission of bringing the information in BB-8 to the Resistance. Meanwhile, a woman named Rey, a scavenger who was left there by her family but is adamant they’ll return, finds BB-8, and eventually encounters Finn. In a strange turn of events, they end up working together and hijacking the Millennium Falcon in search of a way to get information to the Resistance. However, time is running out, as the new Sith Lord, Snokes, has created a weapon even greater than the Death Star, and is ready to use it.
This film unlike the prequel trilogy, felt incredibly similar in tone and style to the original trilogy. Rather, it was very clear the film was heavily leveraging its connections to the main series, with a heavy emphasis on similar scenes, plot events, plot structure, and various references, making sure to emphasize every time an old character is reintroduced. The plot itself felt somewhat like another A New Hope, a pretty good implementation of such, but still not very original. This is fine for this film, as it was important to make clear which direction the films would be going in and to return confidence in the franchise after the prequel trilogy, which I didn’t particularly hate but acknowledge the flaws within. So from that point of view that’s all fine I suppose. However, I would like them to branch out in much more original directions in future films.
In terms of the new set of main characters, they were okay. Not as good as the sets in the previous movies, including the prequels, but still good in their own way in terms of being original and interesting. However, a major issue is balance in terms of protagonists, in that Ren takes on too many roles. She’s both a Jedi and the pilot of the Falcon, so taking after Luke and Han. That’s a bit much, and doesn’t really leave anything for Finn to be. Hence, for the entire purpose film Finn didn’t really have anything that made him stand out, he was simply cannon fodder that ended up in a couple weird situations. And Poe is apparently the other main character, though he doesn’t seem to have much of a role in this movie beyond the beginning and end, thus feeling very lacking. Now, moving on to the antagonists, they were they awful, the siths especially. Kylo Ren I wanted so much to be good, because I’ve always liked the villains in the Star Wars series, especially the sith apprentice Vader, from Episode III-VI. But Kylo is just so pathetically lame. He’s wearing the mask simply because the entirety of his motivations seem to be to follow in the footsteps of Vader, which is somewhat sad. Hell, I’ll even give him a pass on being a Vader wannabe. But his character is such a trainwreck. It’s like an angry know it all teen who hates their parents got force powers. He’s the worst type of arrogant, the type that is genuinely competent, but ends up failing anyway. He is the first genuinely lame force user as far as I know. There was a pretty obvious point, where I thought that he would finally overcome all this and develop further as a character, but despite everything, he’s still exactly the same. Near the end, there was something mentioned about him completing his training, which I really hope results in a pretty major character change, because he desperately needs it. Not sure I can stand a complete set of films with a sith apprentice like him. Snook we got very little of, as we did Palpatine in VI, but I’m desperately hoping he’ll be a stronger character than Kylo.
The beginning of a new Star Wars trilogy, that feels incredibly close to the original trilogy, too close in fact, with the exception of a couple major failings.